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The Banished God: Concerning Faith and Doubt in Lohengrin

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Abstract In his Lohengrin, Wagner contrasts the medieval piety of Wolfram’s Parzival with the tragedy of doubt, which ends without reconciliation. The conflict between faith and doubt essentially forms the spiritual substance of Wagner’s Lohengrin, from the first conception to the completed score, although in the earliest prose draft—the Prosaentwurf (Prose-sketch) of 1845—a variety of political and historical motives unfold around the main idea. These, however, become increasingly relegated to the background in successive compositional stages of the work. The final score, completed in 1847, accentuates the psychological aspect of the drama through the expressive power of the music.

Affiliations: 1: University of Frankfurt ; 2: Boston College


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